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Caregiving - Formal

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaFamily Theory & Types of FamiliesCaregiving - Formal, Informal


Formal caregiving services for elderly individuals are those services bureaucratically provided by nonfamilial and noninformal social systems. Although families provide the majority of care to their older members who require aid with activities of daily living, formal services exist to support both the older individual and the family.

When the United States enacted the Social Security Act in 1935, it was intended to provide resources for older adults. With the 1965 Older American's Act and subsequent amendments, attempts were made to increase the well-being of elderly persons in the United States. The Older Americans Act authorized to Area Agencies on Aging to support programs which provide a variety of formal services to older Americans (Ozawa and Tseng 1999). Numerous other formal service policies and programs exist for older individuals and their families.

Internationally, various pension and retirement systems exist for aging individuals. For example, in Chile, a pension system is in place which allows each Chilean citizen to choose the age at which she or he will retire with the retirement pension based on that individual's contribution throughout his or her work life (Dychtwald 1999). Canada, Sweden, and United Kingdom are among other countries with pension systems for their citizens. In Switzerland, a national pension system exists with workers and employers each paying half the contribution to the pension system (Dychtwald 1999).

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